It’s been quite a busy week at and around Blizzard, starting first with the release of build #3 on the current Beta servers. It was a bit of a stretch to think that UBRS and updated faction cities could be added successfully before the Fourth of July, but this time they managed to not only make it happen, but have a bunch of other topics of interest arise all within a two day span!
#1. RIP Bobert Pards
Robert “The Yodel” Pardo announced his departure from Blizzard at a very awkward time just the other day; this coming a few months after Ghostcrawler (AKA Gregory Street) did the same in favor of joining League of Legends, some free to play game or something. Now this is news for a number of reasons, but of course most importantly because of the level of clout this man ranked as a member of the top 100 most influential men in the world once had within the company.
During Warcraft III through TBC, Rob was Lead Designer and ultimately the man in charge of any game elements to cross the boardroom. Whether this means he was single handedly behind the game’s early success can not be measured, but it is of note. Now just a few weeks in to the public test for the upcoming expansion he is still credited as “contributing designer” on, he decides it would be best to leave the company. Did they want him to work on Fourth of July? I’ve seen people quit for that…
A while back, it was discussed that top level designers at Blizzard can be paid up to 400k USD yearly, and his name was at the top of the top. What leads some one once in this position to quit two days before a major holiday, and a few months in to a highly anticipated expansion?
The immediate answer I can think of is a position he wishes to pursue elsewhere, however he explicitly states that he plans on “enjoying the summer” with his family before making any other plans. Even stranger is that his post was edited by Bashiok, who did not contribute to the conversation.
Does this mean there was some bad blood? What 6 figure designer leaves a multi title and platform company months into a massive development, as well as a few days before the biggest holiday of the summer? I itch to learn what his next stop is, if any, and drool at the thought of all the rampant speculation that seems logical to us as fans.
#2 Momma, there goes that dog!
As if to distract us from the Rob Pardo situation, there were two other pieces of media released from Blizzard just a few hours afterwards. The first of which, is the Cinder Kitten’s arch nemesis, the Molten Corgi. Obviously a pun on the original 40 man raid Molten Core, this pet clocks in with utterly adorable features, at least given the first preview we have.
It was Johnathan LeCraft, a relative of rapper Mike Jones, (who?) who delivered the news to us via his twitter, seemingly out of obscurity. A fellow Senior Game Designer, LeCraft is not some one many people recognize as a household name, making the decision even stranger, albeit his involvement with pet battles and professions.
Its almost certain this pet will join its counterpart as a pet store exclusive, especially after the announcement of the Winged Guardian leaving for good. The once charitable cause seems to be a favorite for blizzard now, and likely stimulates their billions even more so than other payment features the game revolves around.
To go on the record, I fully support the shop and the pets and mounts that come with it. I have not made a single purchase through it, and advocate it is in no way effecting the game or its quality. Its akin to them making WoW tshirts and selling those, only these items are in game instead. You can buy them if you like, or you can shut your mouth.
#3 Mists of Pandaria Trailer, Directors Cut?
Even stranger and more distracting is the 40~ seconds of extension they released to further conclude the Horde v Alliance battle that took place in the MoP intro cinematic.
After watching this, it certainly makes you wonder just whats going on inside the studios. Where did this actually come from? Was it truthfully made way back in the day, and was being saved for a special occasion such as July 4? Its hard to believe this, and for once I find myself siding with the internet scientists and their absurd theories. The most logical of assumptions is to conclude Pandaria, but if you listen closely, you hear the music that plays while you are entering and waiting on menus in Hearthstone, their landmark Collectable Card Game which is getting progressive Esport popularity.
Some would say the point of the message and short clip is to say, “Well there won’t be any more WoW content, but why not check out Hearthstone?”
This makes sense, as these two characters are now officially in the Warcraft universe, so it appears as if they have been invited to the “Tavern.” It also makes sense because Hearthstone is amazing. Honestly, its entirely free to play, very addictive, and has no benefit for funds.
People will try to claim its “pay to win” but all you can buy with money are packs of cards, not anything specific, so its entirely useless unless you are looking to elevate your odds of getting a card you prefer. Plenty of people can compete at high levels without spending a dollar, so if that is your thing, I would really recommend it. Its pace of play as well as extremely light cpu load make it PERFECT for when you are just sitting around waiting for a queue in WoW, or just bored in general.
Regardless, if this is their message I support it 100 percent. Its time people realize that Blizzard and Warcraft in general is part of something larger. There are now 5 amazing games that are currently in heavy upkeep from Blizzard:
World of Warcraft,
and Heroes of the Storm.
Honestly, all five of these games are magnificent, and if you ever get bored of one, the other isn’t far away. With the new battle.net launcher becoming mandatory, its very important that Blizzard continues to cross-promote these brands all under the same umbrella. Huge fan of the idea.
Anyway, that’s been that for this little news segment. I hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July. Unless you are French. Then you lost to Germany.